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JOHANNESBURG: South African Airways (SAA) is further strengthening its position in Africa and across the Atlantic with the introduction of new exiting business and leisure routes. This is part of the aggressive implementation of its turn around strategy focusing on more connectivity for its passengers as well as its preparations to be a full member of the global network of airlines, Star Alliance. Beginning July the airline takes corporate and business travellers to the pulse of the world's business capital, Washington. Leisure travellers can anticipate the natural beauty and magnificence of the Indian Ocean Island, Zanzibar and Livingstone on the shores of the Victoria Water Falls in Zambia.

The service to Washington operates four times a week via Accra (Ghana) in West Africa. "Our American routes have shown tremendous growth and adding a third destination to North America provides a wonderful opportunity for expanding our global route network. "Opening a further gateway to business travellers to the Americas supports our realignment strategy of People, Patronage and Profits aimed at providing our passengers an unsurpassable product and service, and reaching a financial turnaround.

"This route as an extension of our existing service four times a week to Accra, and secures our position in West Africa," says Khaya Ngqula, SAA President and CEO. The product offering on SAA's eight Boeing 747-400s that will service this route features a lie-flat seat in Business and First class. The airline's brand new Airbus A340-600s and A340-300E, already offer Premium passengers a world class product to New York and Atlanta, SAA's existing destinations in the United States.

"Adding Washington to our strong and firmly established New York and Atlanta hubs, gives us access to 95 destinations and 450 daily flights to other America cities, served by the Star Alliance partner, United Airlines. SA207 to Washington, via Accra, will depart from Johannesburg at 18:40 on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, to arrive in Accra at 22:45. From Accra it will depart at 23:45 to arrive in Washington at 6:45 the next day. SA208 will leave Washington on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 08:45 to arrive in Accra at 22:55. The flight to Johannesburg will leave Accra at 23:55 to arrive the next morning at 07:40.

"We anticipate that this route will grow with time to a daily service in keeping with SAA's strategy of growing all long haul routes," says Ngqula. SAA now flies daily to Sao Paulo, Frankfurt, Zurich, London (up to 4 dailies), New York, Atlanta, Mumbai and Paris. Serving the leisure market, SAA will also from July take holidaymakers eager to discover the singular beauty of Zanzibar, twice a week to "the spice island", off the East coast of Tanzania.

Air Tanzania, in which SAA holds a 49% shareholding, flies between Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) and Zanzibar. The direct flights from Johannesburg to Zanzibar will depart as SA186 at 10:00 to arrive in Zanzibar at 14:40 on Tuesdays and Sundays. SA187 will return from Zanzibar at 15:40 to arrive in Johannesburg at 18:40. Livingstone, on the Zambian side of the Victoria Falls, will be served three times a week, on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturday, complementing SAA's existing flights to the Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwean side.

SA048 will depart from Johannesburg at 13:55 to arrive in Livingstone at 15:45, and SA049 will depart from Livingstone at 16:45 to arrive in Johannesburg at 18:35. Both Zanzibar and Livingston will be served by the airline's brand new A319s. Adding exquisite destinations like Livingstone and Zanzibar to our African route network, fulfills our aim to expand into Africa, our primary market.

It gives us a deep sense of satisfaction to offer the people of this continent the opportunity to discover its beauty," says Ngqula. Issued by South African Airways